Ruger EC9s Review: Range Test Results

by coldboremiracle

November 18, 2022

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The handgun market is filled with a great many options for concealed carry. Many of us would like to carry the very best, high-performance, high-capacity pistol. However, the truth is we often carry what is comfortable and affordable. Some of the many options for concealed carry come from Ruger, and one in particular has proven to be very popular. Read on for our Ruger EC9s review.

An inexpensive, small-frame concealed carry pistol from Ruger.

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Ruger EC9s Specs

  • Magazine capacity 7+1
  • Barrel 3.12 in.
  • Grooves/Twist 6; 1:10 RH twist
  • Barrel Length/OAL 3.12 in. / 6 in.
  • Weight 17.2 oz.
  • Dimensions 4.5 in. tall; 0.9 in. wide

Ruger EC9s: Some Background

Ruger has been a part of the American pistol scene for a long time, producing very popular revolvers like the Bearcat and Redhawk. In more recent decades, Ruger has gone into the semi-automatic market. There are many different models as a result. As the trend in autoloading pistols has gone more and more into the polymer-framed direction, so too has Ruger brought their design and style to the poly-framed pistols.

The EC9 discussed in this review is one of the many different models Ruger has recently brought to this market. The EC9 brings an economical option to a compact polymer pistol, with common features like trigger safety and striker- versus hammer-fired. And its single-stack magazine makes the gun very narrow for carrying the pistol concealed.

Ruger EC9s Features

Features of the Ruger EC9s
1 One piece polymer frame

Narrow grip, glass-filled nylon frame

2 One piece slide

Features a solid steel slide and machined-in sights.

3 Trigger safety

For an added level of security.

4 Mags + extensions

Seven and ten round magazines available with extended finger grips.

Models and Variations of the Ruger EC9

The EC9 is part of the LC9 family. They are very similar. Like the LC9, the EC9s is available in many colors. The slide comes either in a Black Oxide, Brown, or Aluminum Cerakote. The polymer frame is available in the following colors: Black, Purple, FDE, Grey, Turquoise, Muddy Girl Camouflage, Silver, Cobalt Kinetic Slate, Pink, Marsala, and Battleworn American Flag Cerakote.

Many of those colors and patterns are exclusive to certain distributors.

Ruger EC9 –  Our Take

I purchased the EC9 on a whim to see if it would fit our household well. My wife has recently gained more interest in shooting. We both liked the idea of her having a gun of her own to gain expertise and comfort. The EC9 came to mind due to its small size. My wife is rather petite for larger framed pistols. I wanted a gun that she could grip properly and control. When the EC9 showed up, I was eager to see how it would fit.

I had ordered the Cobalt-colored EC9; it came in a small cardboard box with instructions, a lock, a magazine, and an apparent training magazine in a safety orange color. I lifted it from the box and removed the chamber flag.

First Impressions

The gun was quite light; its seventeen ounces seemed quite minimal once in the hand. I gripped the frame and pointed the gun. The small pistol barely filled my two hands, almost but not quite enough to call it too small for me.

I drew the slide to the rear, and in doing so, I was met with a surprising amount of resistance. The recoil spring is stronger than I had anticipated for sure, but I found no issue finding purchase on the textured rear portion of the slide. The milled-in sights placed on top of the slide were diminutive but useful, This came as no surprise as this pistol is marketed as a concealed carry gun.

The frame-mounted safety sits at the very rear of the grip area, showing only two positions marked by the traditional red mark for fire. The slide release was located in front of the left-side safety, where you’d expect it to be. With the slide locked back, I found it somewhat difficult to get a good enough push to release the slide. I believe this is partially due to the strong spring pressure and the small and smoothed control surface.

The magazine release is located on the left side of the grip area; I found that it, too, required a little more push than expected to release the magazine. As a CCW pistol, that doesn’t surprise me; inadvertent magazine releases can be extremely inconvenient.

In addition to the seven-round magazine that came with the pistol, I purchased a ten-round magazine offered for the EC9. The larger magazine offers a slightly extended grip area which I found a much better fit for my hand. It’s also worth noting that the pistol comes with a flat-based magazine plate for the seven-round magazine. This will reduce how the weapon prints.

The trigger features a blade safety, and a fairly long pull before the striker is actuated. Again this isn’t a big surprise considering it is a CCW pistol. The break was clean, and a slightly longer than anticipated reset to allow the sequence to restart.

On the Range

We headed to our shooting spot with a few boxes of ammunition and the EC9 in hand. I started out with the pistol to get a feel for it myself. Shooting 124-grain ammunition I was surprised at the amount of recoil.

I guess it makes sense, though, with less weight and mass to hold back, the EC9 is going to recoil harder than the full-sized 9MM pistols I was used to. The trigger felt fine as I went from target to target, squeezing the trigger as I went. I found the sights more than adequate for hitting reasonable man-sized targets at ten to fifteen yards. The gun pointed well and felt naturally right with its grip angle. It was mostly comfortable, except for the slightly square edges of the grip area.

Ruger EC9s Review: on the range, strong-side grip left side view.

Having had my fun, I turned it over to my wife and started loading magazines for her to shoot.

The first thing we noticed was the challenge the EC9’s spring pressure gave her and all of her 105 pounds, She had a hard time getting enough grip and pull to get the slide back. The slide release had seemed to lighten up some since the shooting had begun, which was also helpful.

With some time and a little bit of practice, she had a system worked out. And I spent the rest of the afternoon loading her magazines for her. We burned through several boxes of ammo that day and have since burned through a few more. During that time, we have experienced no failures, which is what one would hope for from a CCW pistol.

Ruger EC9 Pros and Cons 

  • Affordable – Very affordable series of handguns.
  • Reliable – During testing I experienced no issues.
  • Compact – Easily concealed and comfortably carried.
  • Snag-resistant exterior – Low profile sights and smooth edges.
  • Not a .380 – Small gun chambered in 9mm so you can use good ammunition.
  • Low capacity – Maximum of 10 rounds.
  • Could be more comfortable – Angled edges and narrow grip didn’t help.
  • Stiff controls – Mainly the slide release.

Report Card

Shootability

The small frame and more recoil than anticipated presented some challenges.

B+
Reliability

We experienced zero malfunctions during testing.

A
Ergonomics

The gun has stiff controls, a heavy spring, and thin grip frame.

B-
Accuracy

Accuracy was acceptable for a pistol of this size and cost.

B
Value

Very competitively priced, hard to pass up

A
Ruger-EC9s-grade-card

Our Grade

B+

Reviewed by coldboremiracle

Reader’s Grade

B

Based on 1 Reviews

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Ruger EC9s 9mm Ammo

I shot both 124-grain ball ammunition and 115-grain ammunition through the pistol. Both seemed to work well, but the 124s seemed to shoot a little better in my testing. For carry ammunition, I prefer the Hornady American Gunner 124 grain XTP, but some other options are listed below (and likewise some range/training options).

Range Rounds

MagTech-9mm-Ammo

MagTech 9mm 115 GR FMJ Ammo

Marketplace
Cost Per Round
Natchez Shooter’s Supply $0.24
Palmetto State Armory $0.34

Self Defense Ammunition

Box of Hornady 9mm pistol ammunition

Hornady Critical Defense 115 GR

Marketplace
Cost Per Round
Cabela’s $1.24
Midway USA $1.24

Range/Target Shooting

Winchester 115gr FMJ

Marketplace
Cost
Gun.Deals $varies
Optics Planet $.40

Range/Training Ammo

Rainier Arms remanufactured 9mm ammunition

Rainier Munitions Remanufactured

Marketplace
Cost
Rainier Arms $.39

Ruger EC9s Accessories

A great accessory that would have enhanced my experience shooting would be a good grip sleeve, Hogue (of course) makes one that fits the LC9 and EC9.

Ruger EC9s Review: the weapon's geometry does lend itself to concealed carry.

You’ll want a good holster, too. Check out our list of the Best IWB Holsters currently available. Or check out this one from DeSantis.

And, since you’re probably not going to have a weapon-mounted light aboard, you’re going to need a good flashlight. (Actually, you should carry one of those even if you do have a WML equipped.)

Here are a few more ideas.

Ruger EC9 Accessories

Ruger ECS 9-round magazine + floor plate
  • Helps grip that ECS, particularly with large hands
  • Numbered witness holes
  • High-tensile steel wire spring
Check price
Ruger ECS-9 holster
  • A gun without a holster is even worse than a rifle without a sling
  • Inside-the-Waistband (IWB) holster
  • Adjustable ride and cant
  • Available in numerous patterns
https://alnk.to/ehYnAWu
Handgun Master Cleaning Station
  • Fits .22 to .45 as well as some oddball cartridges.
  • Wide range of tools for maintenance and cleaning.
  • Big work area but stores small.
Check price
The first half of
  • Proper eye protection is critical and should always be worn
  • Ballistic rated, not just sunglasses
The second half of
  • Great In-Ear option
  • Custom molded – super easy and comfortable
  • NRR: 31
Amazon
Suitable biometric safe
  • Biometric scanners are a plus but only one 0ption
  • Securing an off-body handgun is paramount
See the top safes

Ruger EC9 Maintenance

A reliable handgun requires regular maintenance and cleaning, but you have to know how to break it down in order to do so. Take a watch at this:

Suggested Resources For You And Your Ruger EC9

Looking for some more information on the Ruger EC9? How about some advice on ammunition management or setting personal training standards? Check out the links below.

Ruger EC9s Review: handguns size vs. hand size.

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About coldboremiracle

coldboremiracle is a self-taught "Freelance Sharpshooter" based in the Rocky Mountains. A true gun nut at heart, but has a passion for precision shooting particularly as it applies to hunting. When not at home or work, he is more than likely behind a riflescope in the high country evaluating the wind for the next shot.

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